Drones to Protect: Shared-Value Analysis of Aerial Surveillance during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and Ethical Framework Development for Future Crises

Lead Participant: Wecorp Ltd


Aerial surveillance has been central to the discussion of intervention during the pandemic with an undeniable ability to become a central force in the fight against COVID-19 due to a wide spectrum of applications.

However, every procedure enacted during this crisis creates a precedent for how the world will respond to future crises, therefore, it is imperative that government agencies work together with the general public to find solutions that will have lasting positive impacts, setting the bar high whilst still attending to the crisis that we are facing.

Professor Jonathan White of the London School of Economics and Political Science concludes on the complexity of such processes:

"Fear creates a desire for political action easily abused -- an impulse to applaud interventions of all kinds and to bemoan their absence. It creates a licence for new powers that are hard to control, and precedents bad as well as good."

Allowing fear to yield unprecedented power is counterproductive as it undermines democratic freedom and risks permanently damaging our perception of technological innovation, putting its benefits at risk of never being used.

The question then is not only potential, but also the ethical applications of use. Whilst it is simple to implement aerial surveillance to track and monitor, it also normalises a 'big brother' regime.

It is therefore crucial that we learn from history to ensure appropriate reactions to 'black swan events', where civil liberties are often discarded.

WECORP proposes a joint-research project with King's College London to develop insights on the effects of aerial surveillance during and after a pandemic crisis.

The research focuses on aerial security providers and the impact various providers may have on public trust. The data acquired will provide a detailed understanding of public perception vis-a-vis surveillance methods used by government agencies, known tech giants, and an alternative citizen-centric model of drone application by ethical challengers.

WECORP was founded on the belief that technology can relieve safety challenges in our communities by empowering community participation in the procedure.

This philosophy compels our core operating principle -- our services need to positively affect the status quo, make things better, not just provide new ways of doing old things -- making us a Challenger in the security industry.

With our research targeting a representative sample of all UK districts, we will aggregate the data necessary to understand the best path to ethically implement aerial security across the UK.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Wecorp Ltd £293,221 £ 205,255


King's College London, United Kingdom £50,099 £ 50,099


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